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Senior doctors urge secondary school pupils to get vaccinated

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Senior doctors urge secondary school pupils to get vaccinated

Senior doctors have urged secondary school children to consider getting vaccinated against Covid after the death of a healthy 15-year-old girl highlighted that young people with no underlying conditions are potentially still at risk.

The rollout of Covid vaccines for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds in England started on 20 September, but the process is more complicated than for some age groups because the shots are given through schools and parental consent is needed beforehand.

Dr Helen Salisbury, a GP in Oxford and a member of the Independent Sage committee, said while it made sense to deliver Covid vaccinations through schools, the programme was starting late compared with other countries and that many schools could struggle given recent cuts to school nursing and medical services.

She said the combination of “half-hearted endorsement” of the vaccine in the age group and “stretched services” risked further delaying vaccinations in teenagers. Sending children back to school without masks, extra ventilation, bubbles and isolation policies was “a total recipe for ensuring everybody gets exposed”, she added.

“I don’t understand why we are not getting on with it. It seems urgent. Urgent to protect these children, and to protect their families, and to protect their education,” she said. “We should have started this in the summer.”

Jorja Halliday, a 15-year-old from Portsmouth, died from Covid last week on the day she was due to have her Covid jab. She developed myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart, days after contracting the virus. While some cases of heart inflammation have been recorded as an extremely rare side-effect of the vaccine, none have led to deaths in young people. The risk of myocarditis appears to be substantially higher from Covid than the vaccine.

The UK’s chief medical officers recommended a single shot of Pfizer vaccine for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds after considering the impact on schooling and mental health, after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation concluded that the medical benefit to children was marginal. The NHS aims to have most children in the group vaccinated before October half-term.

Prof John Simpson, consultant paediatric cardiologist at the Evelina London Children’s hospital and president of the British Congenital Cardiac Association, said Jorja Halliday’s death was “a sad reminder” that while Covid is rarely serious in young people, it can still be fatal.

The first official figures on Covid vaccine uptake among healthy 12 to 15-year-olds in England are expected this week, the Guardian understands. Dr Nikki Kanani, deputy lead for the NHS vaccination programme, said hundreds of schools in England are already vaccinating pupils.

Since the start of the autumn term, infection rates have soared in secondary schools in England, with about one in 20 children in years seven to 11 now expected to test positive for Covid, according to the Office for National Statistics.

“Any death of a child is one too many,” said Russell Viner, professor in adolescent health at UCL, who has advised Sage. “The chances of teenagers without other medical conditions getting very sick or dying from Covid is extremely small. Side-effects from the vaccine are also very rare in this age group. However rare, events both from Covid and from vaccination can and will happen in large populations.

Dr Camilla Kingdon, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “We encourage children and families to seriously consider the offer of Covid-19 vaccination and, if they have questions, to consult with healthcare professionals who are experienced in providing information and supporting conversations.”

Education

2024 UTME notification slip ready for printing – JAMB

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has directed candidates, who registered for the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) to print their notification slips for examination.
The board disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday by its Spokesperson, Dr Fabian Benjamin.
He said the 2024 UTME notification slip, which showed the date, venue and time of their examination, was ready for printing.
“All candidates, who have registered for the 2024 UTME scheduled to start on Friday, April 19, are urged to print their notification slips before the date.
“This is for them to know the date, venue and time of their respective examinations as well as some other vital information.
“To print the slip, candidates are to visit the JAMB website: www.jamb.gov.ng; click on “2024 UTME Slip Printing”, input their registration number, then click on print.
“The slip can be printed anywhere provided there is an internet-enabled computer,” he said.
He added that to successfully sit the examination, candidates were advised to print on or before Friday, 19th April.
This he explained was to enable them locate the venue of their centre, to prevent lateness on their scheduled examination date.
Recall that the 2024 UTME is scheduled to start on Friday, April 19 and end on Monday, April 29.
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Education

Tinubu appoints management team, education loan fund

President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of the three qualified Nigerians to serve on the management team of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND).

A statement issued on Friday by Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) said the appointment is in line with the president’s determination to secure Nigeria’s socio-economic future by ensuring sustainable higher education and critical skill development for all Nigerian students and the youth.

Those appointed are;

(1) Mr. Akintunde Sawyerr – Managing Director/CEO

(2) Mr. Frederick Oluwafemi Akinfala – Executive Director, Finance and Administration

(3) Mr. Mustapha Iyal – Executive Director, Operations

With the appointment of the management team, the President expects that the necessary apparatuses are expeditiously put in place for the effective take-off of this pivotal Fund for the immediate and lasting benefit of Nigerian students and families in all parts of the country.

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Education

Ekiti targets zero percent out-of-school children, says Gov Oyebanji at EKSU convocation

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has restated the commitment of his administration to ensuring that every child in the state has access to quality and compulsory education, noting that education remains a weapon in ensuring social, political, and economic growth of any society.

Governor Oyebanji made this known on Wednesday at the 28th convocation ceremony of the Ekiti state university, Ado Ekiti just as the newly inducted Chancellor of the University, Dr Tunji Olowolafe, announced a one billion naira agribusiness empowerment fund for products of the institution as a way to boost agriculture and food security.

Governor Oyebanji who attended the EKSU convocation as the first alumnus of the school to become Governor of the state and Visitor to the University, said his government remains committed to ensuring that educational institutions in the state were capable of competing with their peers globally.

Governor Oyebanji said his administration has demonstrated commitment to development of education sector from primary to tertiary institutions which include renovation of more than 200 secondary schools, distribution of laptops to students across the state, disbursement bursary and scholarship to students of Ekiti origin in tertiary institutions of learning including Law School, increment of subvention to all state owned tertiary institutions, among others.

Recalling that Ekiti was recently ranked as the highest in school enrollment in the country, the Governor assured that his government would continue to ensure the state has zero percent out-of-school children across the country.

While appreciating the University’s governing council and management for being a partner in progress, the Governor called for more conscious, creative, ingenious and concerted development of strategies for generating additional funds so as to reduce dependence on government subventions.

Governor Oyebanji also urged the University management to justify the increase in their subvention by showing greater commitment to work, avoid incessant strike actions, and allow for smooth running of the academic calendar so that students were not unduly delayed.

While congratulating the graduands, Oyebanji charged them to always remember to give back to their alma-mata.

“We are gathered here today to celebrate scholarship, success, and the result of hard work. As we all know, education remains a weapon in ensuring social, political, and economic growth in any society.

“This is why we will continue to support the education sector. We are committed to ensuring our educational institutions are of the highest standards that can compete globally.

“A demonstration of this commitment can be seen in our various interventions in the sector from primary to tertiary institutions. It is, therefore, a thing of pride to note that Ekiti is ranked one of the highest in school enrollment in Nigeria and one of the states with the least out-of-school children with 2.5%. We are working hard to ensure we have 0% out-of-school children in our state.

“Just a few months ago, we increased the subventions to all Ekiti State – owned tertiary institutions, including the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital significantly.

“As much as the government is ready to continue to play its part in the funding of tertiary education of the state, the university must find ways and means of supplementing whatever the government is able to give.

“There must be conscious, creative, ingenious, and concerted development of strategies for generating additional funds so as to reduce dependence on government subventions”. The Governor stated.

Earlier, in his address, the newly inaugurated Chancellor of the University, Dr. Tunji Olowolafe, who appreciated the Governor for the opportunity to serve, pledged his unflinching commitment to the growth and development of the institution.

Dr. Olowolafe, a trained medical doctor turned businessman announced a one billion naira innovation fund to empower agro-technology companies founded by the latest graduands and current students of the institution.

This is in addition to the establishment of an endowment agenda to offer support and subsidies for up to 30 academic staff members so as to facilitate their participation in international conferences, training sessions, and research activities as well as creation of a platform for 100 of the brightest students from EKSU to engage in resourceful and sustainable work for skills acquisition and development.

Dr Olowolafe noted that it has become imperative for graduates and undergraduates in Nigeria to get actively involved in activities geared towards supporting food security , innovation and strategic entrepreneurship in the current circumstance.

He suggested that students take land lease arrangements for agricultural purposes adding that special awards could also be given to outstanding agriculture entrepreneurs in addition to academic honours.

“Mr. Vice Chancellor sir, as we give awards to best academic students, we can also give awards to best agro entrepreneurs on campus. Some can do grains while others do vegetables. Some can do poultry whilst others can do fisheries. Some can even do logistics whilst others do apps.”
He stated.

He urged the graduands and undergraduates to endeavour to take a needs assessment of their environments to see resources that could be tapped into emphasising that youths need to think wider than their narrow fields of study.

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